The Armament Inspectorate made an announcement, claiming that a “technical dialogue” procedure has been initiated, on 6th April. The goal of the procedure is to develop a “description of the subject of procurement for the ATGM launchers, along with the dedicated munitions”. The dialogue is going to take place between 29th May and 21st October, meanwhile, the submissions of the requests for being included in the procedure will be accepted until 5th May.
The main issues covered by the dialogue cover the following areas: assessment of potential conformity with the initial requirements for the ATGM launchers, issues related to training, supplies and logistics, estimation of the costs of procurement, operation and withdrawal, and initial estimates regarding the needs related to procurement timeline.
The programme has had a working name assigned: Karabela. The Ministry of Defence had been declaring that additional ATGM type would also be procured within the framework of the Pustelnik programme, implemented with the Territorial Defence forces in mind. In the meantime, in June 2016, the MoD also announced that there is a plan of introducing a new ATGM, the tactical and technical specification of which would be superior to those ascribable to the currently operated Spike-LR systems. The plan assumes that the new weapon would be implemented as of 2019.
However, there is still no information available as to which type of the ATGM is planned to be procured. Most probably the Armament Inspectorate is making a relevant effort to find a system which would bridge the gap between the single use and multiple use anti tank grenade launchers and the Spike ATGM. Price and portability of the system are of the key value here. The Spike missiles, operated at the moment, require at least two persons for operation, it is impossible for this weapon to be operated by the airborne units.
Potentially, one cannot rule out a scenario in which a heavier ATGM would be acquired. The Polish Army is willing to procure Kruk attack helicopter in the upcoming period – and here guided anti-tank weaponry is a must. Heavy ATGMs, used e.g. onboard high mobility vehicles, could act as the direct successors for the BRDM-2 platforms fitted with the 9P133 Malyutka launchers, still remaining in the inventory of the Polish Army.
It shall be noted that the current anti-tank weapons inventory of the Polish Army remains far from being satisfactory. The portable Spike-LR launchers are available in insufficient numbers, the said missiles also have not yet been integrated with the Rosomak APCs, even though steps within that scope have already been made, applicable both to the existing platforms utilizing the Hitfist turrets, as well as the ones that are to feature the ZSSW-30 remote control turret system. Some individual elements of the Army also utilize the Malyutka ATGMs (integrated with the BWP-1 IFVs and BRDM-2 vehicles).
Poland shall be driven to established a multi-layered anti-tank defence system, including several types of ATGMs and grenade launchers.